Best Value Video Cameras for Travel & Family

Looking for a great video camera for recording your travels and/or family?

Features we’re looking for: great autofocus, compact, lightweight, stabilized (ideally) for hand-held use.

Here are some commonly recommended setups:

Fixed-lens Options

  • Your phone: if you own a smartphone, you should start there! Modern phones take great videos (4K is standard), and even come with optical image stabilization. No gimbal needed! Cost: free (you already have one!)

Tip: download a third-party app to make your life easier. I use the ProMovie Recorder App for my iPhone ($2.99)

  • GoPro Hero8 Black: excellent for recording fast action video. Stabilized (HyperSmooth 2.0), and can shoot up to 4K 60 fps or up to 1080p 240 fps for slo-mo footage. Includes built-in time-lapse feature. $180 used.

Tip: whatever you do, always go with a “Black” model GoPro. Hero10 Black, Hero11 Black, etc. Just skip the Hero9 entirely (known issues).

  • DJI Osmo Pocket 2: this little camera packs a punch, and is perfect for walking around town and recording your travels. Only 117 grams, with 3-axis image stabilization. Shoots up to 4K 60 fps, and has built-in time-lapse. $250 refurbished.

Mirrorless Setup (Sony)

  • Sony a6400: 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, 2.40 MP EVF, tilting (touch) screen, weather-resistant body, and shoots up to 4K 30 fps. Includes a microphone jack. World-class autofocus makes this an obvious choice for travel/family video. $800 used.
  • Sony 18-105mm F4 G OSS lens: great for video, with a constant F4 aperture and built-in stabilization. $350 used.
  • Sony 35mm F1.8 OSS lens: great for when the light starts to drop. $250 used.
  • Extra batteries and memory cards.

Total: $1,500 used. This would be a perfect travel photo/video setup.

Mirrorless (Other)

You don’t need to go with Sony! While I think the above represents great value, you could put together an affordable kit with a Fuji X-T30 or a Canon R10.

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